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May 13, 2014

Check Your Privilege: Left-Wing Publication Finally Notices That Almost All Left-Wing Publications Are Overwhelmingly Staffed by White People

From Twitchy, the American Prospect finally mentions The Great Unmentionable.

Note, however, that this story is a day old (I didn't get to it yesterday). Not only did almost no one on the left discuss this story yesterday, but today, a google search discloses that almost no one on the left is linking the story, writing about it, rebutting it, or even acknowledging its existence.

A near-total blackout and/or whitewash, depending on your favored racially-suggestive metaphor.

After admitting the Prospect has only one minority editorial staffer, the writer expands:

It's not just the Prospect. Journalism upstarts like Vox Media and FiveThirtyEight have come under fire recently for lack of diversity in their hires, but that's largely because they are drawing from the milky-white pool of “existing talent.” In the corner of the publishing industry that caters to college-educated wonks—a slightly fuzzy designation, but I've included most of the publications my colleagues and I read on a daily basis—racial and ethnic diversity is abysmal.

Nearly 40 percent of the country is non-white and/or Hispanic, but the number of minorities at the outlets included in this article's tally—most of them self-identified as liberal or progressive—hovers around 10 percent.... Given the broad commitment to diversity in our corner of the publishing world, why is the track record so poor?

...

The super-white Slate's David Plotz blames market forces:

In the struggle to stay afloat, worrying about diversity came to be seen as quaint. "Up until 2008, newsrooms—especially large ones—were really really conscious about diversity," says Slate editor David Plotz, whose publication’s staff composition of 75 is about 6.7 percent minority. "The recession made newsrooms very miserly thinking about issues like that. The thinking was, 'We are in survival mode, we are about saving our jobs. This is not an issue we care about.'"

Note that he is implying, without quite saying, that diversity is a luxury, and furthermore, that when you go into "survival mode," you keep your best employees, the ones who give you the greatest economic oomph -- and apparently very few minorities made Plotz's cut.

And what great exertions is Slate making on behalf of racial inequality? Well, they can't be bothered to prioritize hiring minorities, but they will make big noises about the Washington Redskins' Racist Name.

The Nation says "It's the unions' fault:"

The stagnation of the industry also means there are few opportunities to increase diversity. "The staff here is unionized, which means there is little job turnover,” says Richard Kim, executive editor at The Nation, who is Asian American and gay. “We only get to make a hire every four or five years.” Among the progressive publications I examined, The Nation scored the lowest, with slightly over 4 percent of its staff hailing from racial and ethnic minority groups.

The writer now himself blames "structural reasons" -- and says the "talent pool" for these sorts of ventures just doesn't have many minorities in it.

This, of course, is why no one on the left is writing about this: Because ultimately, to justify their own blindingly-white staffs, they have to say things like this.

Things they'd call unspeakably racist were they uttered by anyone working for a company which is not a leftwing political magazine.

They make many excuses for themselves -- "structural reasons," "small talent pools," "unions made us do it even though we're all actually in the union ourselves" -- that they reject from everyone else as being racist.

What they would say to anyone else is this: Obviously you are not prioritizing diversity hiring. You are making it a "nice to have" thing instead of a "need to have" thing. If you prioritized it as "need to have," it would trump all these other considerations and excuses and you would finally start hiring a workforce more reflective of what the nation looks like.

Yet they refuse to prioritize this themselves.

And then, having no good answer to any of these questions, they pretend the questions have never been asked in the first place, and ruthlessly bury the story with the exquisite pearly silence of White Privilege.

Incidentally... Why aren't any of these guys, many of whom have offered excuses which are only barely disguised variations of "Minorities just don't make the cut," not getting the Donald Sterling treatment?

At least Sterling hires minorities.


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posted by Ace at 05:25 PM

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